Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Have Ubuntu installed on a 1TB SATA 3 Hard Drive. Also have Windows 7 installed on a separate 1TB SATA 3 Hard Drive. Unplugged Windows Hard Drive before installing Ubuntu as previous versions of Linux always destroyed my Windows installation. What will happen when I plug in the Hard Drive with Windows 7? Will I get a boot loader that will allow me to choose either OS or will 1 or both OS's get wiped?

The computer has UEFI support and uses the ASUS M5A-99X EVO motherboard.

share|improve this question

You installed Ubuntu without having the Windows HDD installed, which means that Ubuntu won't know about Windows until you update GRUB. If you want to boot both and have both on the same menu, then simply connected the Windows HDD, turn the PC on and make sure that the first Boot HDD Device is the HDD that has Ubuntu on it. Boot Ubuntu and on the desktop open a terminal and type the following:

sudo update-grub

GRUB will find the other hard drive and say "Hey there is a Windows partition here on this other hard drive... and it is bootable!". Then wait a couple of seconds an done.

Next time you boot a GRUB menu will appear asking you which system you want to boot to, Ubuntu or Windows.

Just in case, if the menu does not appear, either press ESC like crazy when the computer starts booting or hold SHIFT (Or a combination of both).

UPDATE: Since you have UEFI I urge you to read the answer provided in the following links:

Installing Ubuntu on a Pre-Installed UEFI Supported Windows 8 system

Configure Dual Boot, Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 with or without EFI

Dual boot UEFI Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 (both 64 bits). W7 entry doesn't appear in GRUB

How to boot Ubuntu from EFI/UEFI?

They will cover the cases related to having Windows on a PC that has UEFI support.

UPDATE 2 - Did an actual test of what I said above. After connecting the Windows HDD again and running update-grub I got the following:

Generating grub.cfg ...
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.8.0-7-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-3.8.0-7-generic
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.8.0-6-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-3.8.0-6-generic
Found linux image: /boot/vmlinuz-3.8.0-5-generic
Found initrd image: /boot/initrd.img-3.8.0-5-generic
Found memtest86+ image: /boot/memtest86+.bin
Found Windows 7 (loader) on /dev/sdc1

As you can see, GRUB found the boot loader of Windows 7 on that other HDD I just plugged in. I also removed the HDD again and ran update-grub which did exactly what I thought it would, remove Windows 7 from the list.

share|improve this answer
The order of the drives on the controller may also play a role depending on the BIOS/EFI. Just saying. +1 – 0xC0000022L Feb 20 '13 at 0:17
True. Am crossing my fingers he does not have an UEFI system. just the normal BIOS. In that case, it does not matter the order since they will get their assigned UUID and be added to the GRUB menu. He can even move the hard drives into another position and they will work just the same. – Luis Alvarado Feb 20 '13 at 0:27
I DO have UEFI BIOS. Motherboard is an ASUS M5A-99X EVO. Does this change the answer or is it still safe to do as you've outlined? – apollo Feb 20 '13 at 1:30
Yes, let me update the answer since it will not do you much unless you do a couple of other steps. – Luis Alvarado Feb 20 '13 at 1:43
Thanks Luis. I will await your response. – apollo Feb 20 '13 at 1:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.